Relief for west coast prawners

West Coast prawn fishing boats are set for a much-needed boost after the European Commission accepted that they should be exempt from days at sea restrictions.

Working with fishermen, the Scottish government has been fighting to have West Coast vessels that catch very little or no cod exempt from EU restrictions. If approved at the December Council, this hoped for breakthrough would mean that 67 boats that fish for prawns in the Minch and the Clyde will no longer be subjected to days at sea limits.

Fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead said: “This has been a long drawn out process and we are therefore delighted that our determined efforts appear to have paid off. I am sure that other EU Member States will now agree to the exemption of many of our West Coast prawn boats. We will work with the vessels involved to make sure that they continue to catch less than 1.5 per cent cod.

“We will continue to work hard to cut our fishermen some much-needed slack. We are determined to fight for measures that will ensure sustainable whitefish fleets and protect our valuable nephrops fisheries. Any solutions must fit with our circumstances, not the convenience of Brussels.”

SSACN – cod are not the only issue as the discard analysis (2007) of the nephrops fishery shows :

  • 292,533 Hake
  • 641,321 Cod
  • 1.25 million Plaice
  • 5.8 million Haddock
  • 11 million Whiting
  • 12.3 million other fish species

and given the historic attitude of politicians, fishery managers and some directly associated with the west coast prawn fishery, can solutions be found which will allow stocks of whitefish to regenerate.?

Some additional thoughts from a Member :

People today accept the current levels of fish stocks, as being the base datum level to work from. This is totally wrong. We should be using the levels before the commercial fishermen wiped out the once vast seasonal shoals of cod from these waters as a datum.

The Scottish government, by lauding this situation as a victory, have tacitly accepted the disgraceful status quo of a barren desert, populated by a dwindling nephrops stock.. They have confirmed they have no intention of restoring the Clyde to its previous biodiversity by allowing the commercial fleet to continue running riot without restriction.

Yet Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong has said on this subject,

“There is also a provision in the EU Regulation that allows for vessels or groups of vessels, which do not impact on cod recovery and catch less than 1.5 per cent cod, to be exempted completely from effort management, that is days at sea limits.”

Please note the words “which do not impact on cod recovery”. His members are the primary factor in the prevention of cod recovery in the Clyde area. The regulations are there, but no one with the guts to implement them.

The Clyde has been sacrificed by governments on the altar of commercial profits.

More on this here.

Category: Commercial, SSACN Announcements

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